August 07, 2014:
PROLOGUE: I actually wrote this post two weeks ago. It seemed pretty heavy to post it while I was on vacation so I left it alone. Yesterday, I was on Instagram and saw yet another "DESIGN GUIDE" profile posting pictures of work done by colleagues. I tagged the post with the name of the designer but it would seem that post was deleted or maybe I'm blind. So I screen shot their post and tagged the name of the designer and added a #creditdesigners hashtag to it. Two knuckle dragging types emerged. One commented on my post that I was a cyber bully. Apparently, asking people to credit the work done by others makes you a bully. The other DARWIN AWARD WINNER claimed that despite the 600 #Hashtags the person tagged on the photo of Colleen McGill's work none of which included her name or handle - that this person perhaps couldn't FIND the name of the person who's work it was. ARE YOU FARKING KIDDING ME? You have time to screen shot a picture, upload it to your ipad or iphone, then tag it a KABILLION times but you don't have the ability, desire or skill set to figure out who's work you are posting? Don't give me the ol' "Inspiration" share excuse either. It's a cop out and you are failing at life people. FAILING AT LIFE.
I went to Catholic school as a kid, despite not being Catholic which meant that I was raised and influenced by Catholic traditions - my world view very much shaped by these with the added perk that I didn't really have to belong, go to church on Sundays or take on any of the bad aspects that having a religion can entail. Basically I cherry pick the good over the bad and lead a mostly agnostic existence. However, one lesson that stuck with me growing up was sinning by Omission. Not stepping up, letting silence reign and failing to accept responsibility directly or indirectly. As a teacher (I actually converted to Catholicism in my early 20's to get my teacher job - HEATHEN - and then taught in the Catholic School board for 7 years), I would always instruct even my grade ones about being guilty by omission. I teach Luke this today. This was further emphasized to me by my mom - an insurance broker - who deals a lot with Errors and Omission insurance. That's an entirely different post.
When social media platforms began to take off first with the facebooks, tumblrs, twitter, and eventually pinterest and instagram, the picture sharing was done with a euphoric naivete. Credit? What credit? Who cares LOOK AT THE PRETTY PICTURES... We are now inundated with visual imagery and the lack of credit on said pictures has hit a critical point. If I see a picture on Pinterest that is without credit and I know who the work belongs to, I add the credit. When I talk to designers who are just getting into these platforms, I encourage them to pin from the source where possible so that the link is established. More nefarious sorts will find a way around that hell I've seen some supposed (bogus) designer types who blog do a How to Scrub the link and make it your blog that the picture links to - I SHIT YOU NOT. Real Gem that post was.
My latest soapbox movement however is on instagram. There are MANY designers or wannabees on there that post pictures of "Inspiration," gain tens of thousands of followers (or buy them) and then fail to credit the original designer, the magazine, the photographer. Some even use hashtags with their own design tag in there #IMascammerdesign within the photo tags. Some when called on it, claim they are just sharing design inspiration but I call BULL SHIT on this. I challenged one such person this week and had seriously a dozen messages and even more comments on a picture I posted exposing this fraud from people who wondered about this person. The pictures and the designer's tag in them lead them to believe that this may be the work of this designer. Why I call foul on this is because I believe the omission of the actual credit or an acknowledgement that this is not their work is intentional - to create the impression that it is their work and to get hired from it. Instagram is not about curating. It's about sharing your own work/life/blog it's not about borrowing someone else's. Just this morning, another designer instagrammed my work and a friend tagged me in the photo. NOT COOL PEOPLE. Did you do the work? Post the picture. Did you borrow the work for inspiration - CREDIT THE PERSON(S) who it belongs to or... DO NOT FARKING POST IT. If you are so damn lazy that you can't use google image to find out who's work it is - then you have no business posting it unless you include the disclaimer #inspiredby #fabulousworkdonebyothers #notmyworkbutmyinspiration.
I am willing to bet that after a few years, when these poseurs have some work of their own under their belts and start to see their work being borrowed or not credited, you can bet your bottom dollar they will cry foul. I actually had that happen not that long ago. I had a hard time feeling sorry for this person because s/he is very much guilty of the Sin of Omission. I took some satisfaction in this. So I ask you, implore you to speak up when you see an account that posts an abundance of amazing projects. Who has the time to post all of these fabulously styled shots that are portfolio drool worthy when they are busy actually working?? Ask yourself - where are the credits and then challenge that person to provide them. I think that if more people speak up we can turn the tide on this one. #PleaseProvideCreditWhereCreditIsDue #CreditsPlease or get creative...